After nearly two years of criticism that the country isn’t carrying out enough tests, the measure is a subtle but strong sign of a shift toward a more proactive stance.
Proposals to be finalized Friday aim to bolster the country’s hospital capacity, expand its vaccine campaign and advance treatment and testing.
With the Tokyo governor seemingly performing a U-turn on running for the Lower House, the campaign of fledgling "conservative centrist" party First no Kai never got off the ground.
The Meteorological Agency was quick to dispel speculation that the tremor — a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that shook Tokyo late Thursday night — could be a foreshock for a larger quake.
Prefectural governors are set to gradually peel back virus measures, while the central government shifts its focus toward the final stages of the initial vaccine rollout.
Steps similar to quasi-emergency measures will be put in place by prefectural governors, who have been given the task of rolling back restrictions while maintaining certain precautions.
If the order is lifted entirely, it will be the first time since early April that no prefecture is under a state of emergency or quasi-emergency measures.
Preparations have begun to administer additional shots to health care workers and older people, but debate still swirls around how extra doses should be given and when.
Providing at-home treatment for coronavirus patients presents an entirely different dilemma for the nation's already exhausted medical personnel.
Japan could soon start giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to people who are at least eight months removed from their second doses.